There are two types of mutations, base substitution or frameshift point mutations. A base substitution is a type of mutation where one nucleotide is replaced by another. As a consequence, a codon that will not code for any amino acid could be produced. This is also referred to as a nonsense mutation creating a stop codon which results in a truncated, incomplete or non-functional protein,
when the relevant mRNA is translated. If the substitution leads to a codon that codes for a different amino acid then it is referred to as a missense mutation. Missense mutations find more do not always lead to marked protein changes but can give rise to non-functional proteins. Frameshift mutations are typically caused by loss or gain of a number of nucleotides that are not evenly divisible by three. As a result, the whole sequence will be modified from the point of mutation as the reading frame or sequence of codons will be changed. This in turn leads to a completely different translation. The bacterial mutation assays are normally carried out in the presence and absence of a surrogate for human OSI-744 molecular weight liver activity such as rat liver S9 fraction. Liver S9 is obtained from animals treated with inducers of P450 enzymes required for phase I metabolism. Thus, compounds that are innocuous but which have DNA reactive metabolites can be detected. The mouse lymphoma
L5178Y TK assay (MLA) is a gene mutation assay used to assess the mutagenicity of chemicals (OECD, 1997c). The principle of this assay is very similar to the Ames test, although in this case forward mutations are induced rather than reverse mutations. The selected mutation will cause the cell to be
resistant to a toxic chemical. Thymidine kinase-competent (TK+/+ or TK+/−) mouse lymphoma cells are treated with test chemicals, then the cells are transferred to selective media containing lethal Suplatast tosilate analogues such as trifluorothymidine. Only cells that have mutated to TK−/− survive and form colonies. The loss of this specific enzyme does not cause any other deleterious effect to the cell. However, if the mutation results from an extensive deletion causing the loss of essential genes, the cell will die and no colonies will form. There are also genes close to the TK gene that are involved in cell growth, thus a deletion that removes these genes will result in a slow growing colony. This contrasts with point mutations within the TK gene, where a large mutant colony will be formed. By measuring the numbers of small mutant colonies that are induced after exposure to a test chemical, an assessment of clastogenicity can be obtained, as chromosome damage could result in deletions. By measuring the number of large mutant colonies, an estimate of induced point mutations can be obtained.